Washington governor bans employees from helping Donald Trump's immigration crackdown

It 'reaffirms the state's commitment to tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness', says Jay Inslee

Jon Sharman
Friday 24 February 2017 15:21
Governor signs executive order ordering people not to follow Trump's executive orders

A state governor has banned his employees from cooperating with Donald Trump's policies on immigration.

Jay Inslee signed an executive order that bars the state of Washington's agencies from denying services to people based on their citizenship or legal status and from helping detain immigrants for breaking civil rules.

It came after memos were released by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly showing his department planned to prioritise the removal of undocumented immigrants who "have been convicted of any criminal offence", following directives from the President.

This will include those who "have abused any programme related to receipt of public benefits".

Governor Inslee said: "Washington will not be a willing participant in promoting or carrying out mean-spirited policies that break up families and compromise our national security and community safety.

"Our officers are here to keep the public safe by enforcing the criminal laws, not to act as [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers or enforce civil violations."

He added that it reaffirmed "the state's commitment to tolerance, diversity, and inclusiveness" and the order was "designed to ensure that all state agencies under my executive authority carry out only those duties and responsibilities prescribed to them in state and federal law."

He said: "In Washington state we know this: we do not discriminate based on someone's race, religion, ethnicity or national origin. That remains true even as federal policies create such uncertain times."

Washington agencies must comply to the extent to which they are permitted under federal law, he said. The agencies are ordered not to collect any more information about people than is necessary to perform their basic duties.

Mr Inslee's office said immigrants make up 17 per cent of Washington's workforce and contribute some $2.4bn (£1.9bn) in taxes.

Mr Kelly has insisted there will be "no mass deportations" during the Trump administration's immigration crackdown.

He told reporters in Mexico City there would be “no use of military force for immigration operations” and said enforcing new policies would be done legally and with respect for human rights.

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